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EC chips in a third for €22.3m splurge on photonic networking

I see the light, and the light is fast

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The European Commission is spending €7.43m on developing technologies for better fibre networking, with five member countries stumping up twice that for local funding.

The projects were selected by the EC and the interested countries – Austria, Germany, Poland, the UK and Israel – with the split funding intended to get technology deployed as well as developed. The projects to be funded are all about enhancing the speed, and reducing the cost, of deploying fibre optic networks to handle the backhaul that Europe's Digital Agenda will need.

That Agenda calls for everyone in Europe to have access to 30Mb/sec broadband by 2020, which is something we can all look forward to. Half of Europeans are, by that time, expected to have 100Mb/sec of connectivity available if they want it.

Should anyone start using such fast connections then they'll need very fast optical processing solutions, and cheap tuneable lasers, which make up two of the 13 projects that will receive the new funding.

Happily, Alcatel Lucent announced its FP3 IP routing processor just yesterday – able to handle 400Gb/sec routing on a 40nm die. Talking to Alcatel Lucent about the launch, we asked if that wasn't rather more bandwidth than most users would need, and the company admitted that few deployments would be run up to full speed immediately, but that some Enterprise customers were already asking for 1Gb/sec internet links and 10Gb/sec between sites.

If we're all going to get 30Mb/sec in the next nine years then we'll need lots of fast processors, and fibre, now if the EC can just find a cheaper way to get it into the ground we'll be sorted. ®

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